A year ago this month, we had just begun to settle into a long and lonely year. While we were already tired of social distancing, at least the weather allowed us to spend time outside. We were getting used to Zoom, getting better and better at online services, and – as I remember so well – we were thinking ahead to a High Holy Days we knew would be like none we had ever experienced.
Last year’s High Holy Day services were almost completely virtual, but we worked hard to be together. Thinking back, I am grateful our congregation followed one of the central teachings of the Days of Awe, when Moses stands with the people on the mountain, preparing them for the future, and urging them to choose blessing and choose life. Our community embraced this call in every way.
Now, another summer brings optimism and change. Many, if not most, of us are vaccinated and much more is possible. SFS is committed to finding the balance between maximizing our feeling of community, protecting our health and being inclusive of those who are still not able to be around groups of people. As we plan for another High Holy Day season during COVID, these are the principles that are guiding us.
At this time, we are hoping to be able to provide in-person services for most, if not all of the holidays, while also sharing the experience interactively on Zoom. We hope to provide a full holiday experience for all. Of course, if conditions change, we will modify our plans.
Many of the details of planning are still in progress, as we watch how facts around the virus and vaccinations develop, and think creatively about solutions. However, we are all excited for our community to gather and bring in a new year – a year of hope, joy, human contact, life, and blessing.
Enjoy the rest of your summer.
Rabbi Morris Barzilai